2020 Primetime Emmy Awards: ‘Watchmen’ is the top winner

September 20, 2020

by Carla Hay

Regina King and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in “Watchmen” (Photo by Mark Hill/HBO)

With 11 prizes, HBO’s sci-fi/drama limited series “Watchmen” was the top winner at the 72nd annual Emmy Awards, which were presented September 20, 2020, in a virtual ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. ABC had the U.S. telecast. The winners accepted their prizes via video satellite links. Going into the ceremony, “Watchmen” was the leading contender, with 26 nominations. Among the Emmy Awards won by “Watchmen” were for Outstanding Limited Series; Best Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (for Regina King); Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (for Yahya Abdul-Mateen II); and Best Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special.

Pop TV’s “Schitt’s Creek” (whose series finale aired in April 2020) was also a big winner, by sweeping all seven of the major categories in the comedy categories: Outstanding Comedy Series; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (for Eugene Levy); Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (for Catherine O’Hara); Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (for Dan Levy); Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (for Annie Murphy); Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series; and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. “Schitt’s Creek” was the first TV series to win all seven of these Emmy categories in the same year. “Schitt’s Creek” went into the ceremony with 15 nominations and ended up winning nine Emmys. The other two Emmys won by the show were for Outstanding Contemporary Costumes and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series

HBO’s “Succession” was another big winner at the ceremony, including victories in these categories: Outstanding Drama Series; Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series (for Jeremy Strong); Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series; and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. The total Emmy haul for “Succession” in 2020 was seven.

Zendaya won the prize for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, for HBO’s “Euphoria.” At 24 years old, she made Emmy history for being the youngest person to win in this Emmy category. Other actor winners included Mark Ruffalo (who played identical twins) for HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True” (Outstanding Lead Actor in Limited Series or Movie); Billy Crudup for Apple TV+’s “The Morning Show” (Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series); Julia Garner for Netflix’s “Ozark” (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series); and Uzo Aduba for FX’s “Mrs. America” (Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie).

Presenters included Jennifer Aniston, Tracee Ellis Ross, Zendaya, Jason Sudeikis, Randall Park, Anthony Anderson, Cynthia Erivo, Oprah Winfrey, Laverne Cox, Yara Shahidi and Sterling K. Brown. And in honor of everyday people during the pandemic, there were also several “non-famous” people as presenters, such as a school teacher, an astronaut, a mail deliverer, a farmer/shepherd, a truck driver, two doctors and a nurse. In a comedic segment, there was a mini-reunion of “Friends,” as Aniston, Courteney Cox and Lisa Kudrow did a sketch where they all pretended to be longtime roommates.

As previously announced, Tyler Perry and The Perry Foundation received the noncompetitive Governors Award for career achievement. H.E.R. performed “Nothing Compares 2 U” for the “In Memoriam” segment honoring prominent people who worked in television who passed away since the 2019 Primetime Emmy Awards.

Many of the speeches and presentations (including acceptance speeches by Perry and “Schitt’s Creek” co-star Dan Levy) mentioned a need for more diversity and inclusion in television. There were special segments devoted to actresses/producers Issa Rae, America Ferrera and Lena Waithe sharing personal experiences about how they dealt with racism in the industry. Some of the ceremony’s winners (such as King, Ruffalo, Dan Levy and Garner) also urged people to vote in this U.S. election year.

The independent accounting firm of Ernst & Young LLP tallied the votes for the Primetime Emmy Awards, which are voted on by branches of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, with some special jury awards. The executive producers of 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards telecast were Kimmel, Guy Carrington, Reginald Hudlin, David Jammy and Ian Stewart. The show raised $2.8 million for the food charity No Kid Hungry, according to an announcement that Kimmel made at the end of the show.

The 2020 Creative Arts Emmy Awards were handed out in a five-part ceremony (hosted by Nicole Byer) on September 14, 15, 16, and 17 on Emmys.com and on September 19 on FXX. A complete list of winners for the 2020 Creative Art Emmy Awards can be found here.

Here is the list of nominees and winners for the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards:

*=winner

Outstanding Drama Series

“Better Call Saul” (AMC)
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“Killing Eve” (BBC America/AMC)
“The Mandalorian” (Disney Plus)
“Ozark” (Netflix)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
“Succession” (HBO)*

Outstanding Comedy Series

“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)
“Dead to Me” (Netflix)
“The Good Place” (NBC)
“Insecure” (HBO)
“The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)*
“What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)

Outstanding Limited Series

“Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu)
“Mrs. America” (Hulu)
“Unbelievable” (Netflix)
“Unorthodox” (Netflix)
“Watchmen” (HBO)*

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Steve Carell (“The Morning Show”)
Brian Cox (“Succession”)
Billy Porter (“Pose”)
Jeremy Strong (“Succession”)*

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”)
Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)
Zendaya (“Euphoria”)*

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Don Cheadle (“Black Monday”)
Ted Danson (“The Good Place”)
Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
Eugene Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)*
Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Linda Cardellini (“Dead to Me”)
Catherine O’Hara (“Schitt’s Creek”)*
Issa Rae (“Insecure”)
Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Jeremy Irons (“Watchmen”)
Hugh Jackman (“Bad Education”)
Paul Mescal (“Normal People”)
Jeremy Pope (“Hollywood”)
Mark Ruffalo (“I Know This Much Is True”)*

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”)
Shira Haas (“Unorthodox”)
Regina King (“Watchmen”)*
Octavia Spencer (“Self Made”)
Kerry Washington (“Little Fires Everywhere”)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul”)
Bradley Whitford (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Billy Crudup (“The Morning Show”)*
Mark Duplass (“The Morning Show”)
Nicholas Braun (“Succession”)
Kieran Culkin (“Succession”)
Matthew Macfadyen (“Succession”)
Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”)
Meryl Streep (“Big Little Lies”)
Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Fiona Shaw (“Killing Eve”)
Julia Garner (“Ozark”)*
Sarah Snook (“Succession”)
Thandie Newton (“Westworld”)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

Andre Braugher (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”)
William Jackson Harper (“The Good Place”)
Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”)
Sterling K. Brown (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Tony Shalhoub (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Mahershala Ali (“Ramy”)
Kenan Thompson (“Saturday Night Live”)
Dan Levy (“Schitt’s Creek”)*

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Betty Gilpin (“GLOW”)
D’Arcy Carden (“The Good Place”)
Yvonne Orji (“Insecure”)
Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Marin Hinkle (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”)
Cecily Strong (“Saturday Night Live”)
Annie Murphy (“Schitt’s Creek”)*

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Dylan McDermott (“Hollywood”)
Jim Parsons (“Hollywood”)
Tituss Burgess (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend”)
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (“Watchmen”)*
Jovan Adepo (“Watchmen”)
Louis Gossett Jr. (“Watchmen”)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Holland Taylor (“Hollywood”)
Uzo Aduba (“Mrs. America”)*
Margo Martindale (“Mrs. America”)
Tracey Ullman (“Mrs. America”)
Toni Collette (“Unbelievable”)
Jean Smart (“Watchmen”)

Outstanding Competition Program

“The Masked Singer” (Fox)
“Nailed It!” (Netflix)
“RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1)*
“Top Chef” (Bravo)
“The Voice” (NBC)

Outstanding Variety Talk Series

“Daily Show with Trevor Noah” (Comedy Central)
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” (TBS)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
“Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” (HBO)*
“Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Benjamin Caron, “The Crown” (Netflix)
Jessica Hobbs, “The Crown” (Netflix)
Lesli Linka Glatter, “Homeland” (Showtime)
Mimi Leder “The Morning Show” (Apple TV Plus)
Alik Sakharov, “Ozark” (Netflix)
Ben Semanoff, “Ozark” (Netflix)
Andrij Parekh, “Succession” (HBO)*
Mark Mylod, “Succession” (HBO)

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

Matt Shakman, “The Great” (Hulu)
Amy Sherman-Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
Daniel Palladino, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
Gail Mancuso, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Ramy Youssef, “Ramy” (Hulu)
Andrew Cividino and Daniel Levy, “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)*
James Burrows, “Will & Grace” (NBC)

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

Lynn Shelton, “Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu)
Lenny Abrahamson, “Normal People” (Hulu)
Maria Schrader, “Unorthodox” (Netflix)*
Nicole Kassell, “Watchmen” (HBO)
Steph Green, “Watchmen” (HBO)
Stephen Williams, “Watchmen” (HBO)

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Thomas Schnauz, “Better Call Saul” (AMC)
Gordon Smith, “Better Call Saul” (AMC)
Peter Morgan, “The Crown” (Netflix)
Chris Mundy, “Ozark” (Netflix)
John Shiban, “Ozark” (Netflix)
Miki Johnson, “Ozark” (Netflix)
Jesse Armstrong, “Succession” (HBO)*

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Michael Schur, “The Good Place” (NBC)
Tony McNamara, “The Good Place” (NBC)
Daniel Levy, “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)*
David West Read, “Schitt’s Creek” (Pop TV)
Sam Johnson and Chris Marcil, “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)
Pam Simms, “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)
Stefani Robinson, “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special

Tanya Barfield, “Mrs. America” (FX)
Sally Rooney and Alice Birch, “Normal People” (Hulu)
Susannah Grant, Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, “Unbelievable” (Netflix)
Anna Winger, “Unorthodox” (Netflix)
Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, “Watchmen” (HBO)*